Cancer Research Taps Into Crowdfunding

By Katherine Knott
The Kansas City Star

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for nonprofits, businesses and personal causes. So popular even the “American Cancer Society” is getting in on the trend!

The Kansas City Star

Rebecca Wates became the American Cancer Society’s first crowdfunded scientist in June.

Back in February, the organization tried a different approach to raise money: It started a crowdfunding campaign to fund the work of young cancer researchers such as Wates, who works at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The online campaign made it easy to donate, and there was a running total of the money raised.

All in all, the campaign brought in $1.18 million. Wates received $111,500 to help her develop a drug for ovarian cancer.

Wates, a Kansas City native, has studied cancer for some time. Her personal experience with the disease influenced her decision to become a cancer researcher. Wates’ aunt died from ovarian cancer in 1999, and her mom is a breast cancer survivor. She’s worked at KU Med for four years now.

Wates didn’t know the American Cancer Society grant would be crowdfunded.

“It’s extremely meaningful to know that people found out about my work and were enthusiastic enough that they were willing to donate their money,” Wates said. “There are a lot of causes that we can donate to. It’s meaningful to know that people out there are so supportive of scientific research.”

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for nonprofits, businesses and personal causes. If you scroll through the popular crowdfunding site, GoFundMe, you’ll see a variety of stories.

Some people ask for help with hospital bills or college tuition. Others look to the community to help their businesses. According to GoFundMe, $4 million is raised by users every day.

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